Horticulture therapy offers children escapism and a therapeutic outlet to channel all their frustrations that have been building up over a period of time. It may have built up as a response to being unable to communicate to others how they feel. Therapeutic horticulture allows children to find their own niche and preferred methods of learning and, in turn, can increase their cognitive functioning. This blog explores how horticulture over time helps children with interaction, cognitive development and increases social engagement with their peers.
There are several benefits to engaging within horticulture therapy. We have listed a few below for you.
- Cognitive benefits – children learn about the way in which plants live, how they grow and how the weather affects the conditions of the plants. Outdoor learning has been known to boost children’s cognitive development in particular it can help with increasing concentration. Horticulture therapy can help to improve memory, task initiation, language skills and concentration.
- Social benefits – Children with special needs may have few opportunities to engage with their peers socially. Children’s natural curiosity for the outdoors can help them to improve their communicational skills. Horticulture therapy can increase your child’s social engagement which is nice for both the child and the adult as they show you different sides of their personality and increase positive behaviours.
- Sensory benefits – There are some children who have extreme sensory needs and horticulture therapy can help them to explore their senses. Touching soil, smelling flowers, listening to the wind blow the leaves and seeing the trees move and tasting fruits that they have helped to grow. With repeated exposure and some guidance, their negative responses could decrease with the right interactions.
- Emotional benefits – Over time children can develop patience. Horticulture therapy can provide a sense of purpose and as they watch their seeds transform into flowers, a sense of achievement too. Connecting with nature can reduce children’s tension,
For more hints and tips to create a great gardening space for your SEN children please visit the link below:
Did you know?
Did you know that digging has the following benefits:
- Reduces muscle tension and lowers blood pressure
- Builds endurance and hand dexterity
- Provides an opportunity to develop speech
- Gives opportunities to play and explore
- Gives opportunities to further develop gross motor skills
- Helps lessen anxieties
- Helps reduce tactile defences
- Gives practice in following instructions and safety regulations
Did you know that being in nature can:
- Reduce severities of symptoms in children with ADD (attention deficit disorder)
- Natural surroundings can improve cognitive functions
- Nature can boost self-confidence and self-esteem
- Being around nature can improve concentration and reduce stress
- Viewing nature improves performance in attention-demanding tasks
- Trees nearby can reduce levels of fear
Remember – Children with special educational needs benefit from horticulture therapy but so do their caregivers and teachers. They can connect with the children on another level, are able to see the children in a positive state and are able to provide opportunities for the children that they were not otherwise able to in an indoor environment.
Our sensory gardens here at HQ, is a space in which can provide opportunity for children and adults to work together on a common goal, to explore the sensory qualities of the garden, learn valuable skills, cook with homegrown ingredients and feel the benefits of accessing the outdoor environment and the positive impact it can have on mental health.
What do you think about horticulture therapy? Perhaps you already offer some kind of horticultural therapy within your schooling environment and wish to express your opinions.
Maybe you have a child with special educational needs and feel that horticulture is something that you would like to start with them. We would love to know how you feel about horticultural therapy and look forward to your comments below.